Virtual School Meanderings

March 12, 2017

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature…

Worth A Read

Report Foreword: A Formula that Works

Posted: 08 Mar 2017 09:00 PM PST

Aaron Churchill and Chad Aldis write about a new report issued by Bellwether Education Partners and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The report looked at how Ohio funds its public and charter schools and makes recommendations to reform school funding structures in Ohio. “Much work remains to be accomplished if Ohio is to craft a transparent, modern school-funding structure. We realize that the profound complexities and political realities of school funding policy make this a daunting task. In our view, the best course forward is to take one manageable step at a time. If state leaders make these essential repairs, Ohio will take its next step in the long journey toward a school funding system that supports an excellent education for all.”

Why School Choice Is Not A Thing

Posted: 07 Mar 2017 09:00 PM PST

Peter Greene unpacks the dream of a school choice system, where “every family can choose from a wide range of schools, selecting the one that fits their own child.” He writes that choice systems may actually decrease choices: “It will not expand choice. It will simply give a different group of people the power to decide which choices will be available – disconnected people, outside people, people with a vested financial interest, people who don’t have to listen to anyone in the school or community. This is not the expansion of choice – it’s the expansion of a market.”

The State of State Teachers’ Pension Plans

Posted: 05 Mar 2017 09:00 PM PST

Karl Russell and Mary Williams Walsh look at teacher pension systems across the U.S. They write: “A traditional pension can be a very attractive benefit, at least for those who work long enough to get back more money than they contribute. But because of high teacher turnover, mobility from state to state and other factors, only a minority of all newly hired teachers succeed in doing that. Some states make it easier than others.”

It’s Not Nothing: The Role of Money in Improving Education

Posted: 05 Mar 2017 09:00 PM PST

Mark Dynarski discusses the role of spending in K-12 education. He attempts to clarify the statement that ‘money doesn’t matter’ in schools. He focuses on two recent papers, and writes “Two recent studies that use these methods provide evidence that money matters. But they also provide evidence that it will take massive amounts to close gaps.”

Vouchers Are Not a Viable Solution for Vast Swaths of America

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 09:00 PM PST

Neil Campbell and Catherine Brown write about Donald Trump’s proposal to reprioritize existing school funding to provide federal vouchers for private-school choice. “In short, vouchers can have detrimental effects on communities and limit high-quality options for students even in areas with an abundance of schools in close proximity to one another.”

DeVos and Tax Credit Vouchers: Arizona Shows What Can Go Wrong

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 09:00 PM PST

Kevin Carey, the New America Foundation, discusses the tuition tax credit scheme in Arizona. “Some states, like Alabama and Indiana, limit tax credit vouchers to low- and middle-income families, or to students who were previously enrolled in public school. But others, including Arizona, do not, subsidizing private education for the well-off.” Carey also looks at how tax credit voucher schemes circumvent state Blaine amendments prohibiting public funds for religious schools. He writes that this ‘shell-game’ moves public money to non-profit donors and ultimately into private schools. This process makes it very difficult to account how public monies are being spent.

Dismantling Public Education: Turning Ideology into Gold

Posted: 28 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Alex Molnar says that policies based on faith in the ‘market’ as a principle of social organization have wrought havoc with a founding principle of American democracy. “In the next decade the distinction between public and private will likely continue to blur, and ever more public tax dollars will be syphoned into private coffers. Public schools will limp along, underfunded and struggling to educate ever larger numbers of students with needs too great to be profitable.”

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